Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Caron Morgan, CEO of Birdy's Daughter, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Birdy's Daughter is a wholesale and retail distributor of 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain® coffee products. We are licensed and certified by the Jamaican government to share this rare specialty coffee. Our customers range from coffee importers and roasters to individual coffee connoisseurs to travelers who discovered the coffee while visiting Jamaica. The short answer is anyone who loves coffee that is delicious, low in acidity, and doesn't give them the jitters.
Tell us about yourself
I've always considered myself creative. I'm a singer and love fashion and the arts, but I never pursued those passions. I was raised in a very strict religious household, and higher education and artistic pursuits were heavily discouraged. So, I worked for most of my career on Bay Street, managing Senior Executive Receptions and Catering groups. It paid well enough but didn't satisfy my soul. A few years ago, an investment banking friend asked if I'd be interested in being the General Manager for a high-end, specialty coffee shop that a client of his was opening. Despite knowing very little about coffee, I said yes and dived into the world of specialty coffees, where we know pretty much everything about the farmer, the bean, the farming practices, and everything that is done at the highest standard. Jump forward a few years later, a close friend from Jamaica who owns a great deal of land there asked me if I knew a coffee roaster because he wanted to bring Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee to Canada. I knew a roaster and was intrigued. In helping him, I discovered a passion for coffee and the farmers and the coffee's history.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
On December 27, 2020, my business partner, who I loved like a father, had a heart attack and died. He and I had spent 2019 building in our imaginations what we wanted to accomplish with Birdy's Daughter. When he passed, I had to dig deep not to let our dreams die. My biggest accomplishment has been maintaining a mindset of hope even in the face of great tragedy, limited finances, and backbreaking fatigue. I have fought feelings of insecurity, unworthiness, and fear my whole life. When this happened in the midst of COVID, I didn't allow myself to develop a mindset of defeat. I just kept going. I have always been a student of self-development. I read the stories of others and took responsibility for my life. All of it. And each day, I believe in something greater, something better.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
As a small business owner, wearing all the hats is incredibly challenging. I'm excited by the people I get to meet, creating the packaging, and working with the farmers and roasters, but I'm drained by the accounting, administrative and physical side of the work. Finding the resources to delegate tasks is essential but not always easy.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Do something you love or something you're so good at it pays you well enough to free up time to do what you love.
- Don't compare yourself to anyone. Behind the scenes, most business owners deal with everything you are worried about. Some just hide it better.
- Take advantage of the help out there for small business owners. You will not be able to go it alone.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I think this is a phenomenal time to be a business owner. There has been a huge shift and so many examples in every area of people pursuing their passions. Many people are living someone else's dream life but not their own. There's nothing more fulfilling than walking in your purpose. That's worth making sacrifices for.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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